From God’s word – Finding strength to step out in faith

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By Toni Ford

Have you ever read the entire chapter of Matthew 14? What an incredible and exciting read! There is so much happening in this chapter, which begins with an explanation of the death of John the Baptist. Once John’s disciples buried John the Baptist, they went to find Jesus to tell Him of John’s death. Scripture tells us, “As soon as Jesus heard the news, He left in a boat to a remote area to be alone.” Keep in mind that Jesus experienced feelings and emotions just as we do, yet He was without sin. Here we see that once Jesus heard of John’s death, He wanted to be alone and spend time with His Father in order to grieve and process His friend’s death.

Scripture goes on to tell us that people from numerous cities heard where Jesus was and followed Him. In Matthew 14:14, we see the heart and emotions of Jesus: “Jesus saw the huge crowd as He stepped from the boat, and He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” That evening, Jesus and His disciples feed the crowd of over 5,000 men, women and children with only five loaves of bread and two fish.

After that miraculous event, we come to the story of Jesus walking on the water and Peter getting out of the boat and walking towards Jesus. Here is where I would like to spend a bit more time as we pick this story up in verse 24 of Matthew 22: “Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, ‘It’s a ghost!’ But Jesus spoke to them at once. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said. ‘Take courage, I am here!’ Then Peter called to him, ‘Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.’ ‘Yes, come,’ Jesus said. Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him, ‘You have so little faith.’ Jesus said. ‘Why did you doubt me?’”

There are so many life lessons I am reminded of when I read this story, ones that never get old or out of date and I actually need to be reminded of often.

Jesus is always on time. Although Jesus could see the storm that was approaching and knew it would soon impact His disciples on the Sea of Galilee, He still did not rush to rescue them. Jesus knew His disciples needed to learn a greater lesson than just being rescued from a storm. The disciples were in His hands, and He would be there to save them at the perfect time.

Jesus is the ultimate authority and power over creation. Have you ever pondered what this means? Have you ever been in a terrifying weather situation and called out to the Lord for Him to calm the storm and speak to the winds? When Jesus was on the mountain alone while praying to His Father, He could have spoken to that storm and calmed the winds at that very point. Instead, He knew His disciples needed to grasp this truth about Him. Why? Because it would change their faith going forward. So while the wrath of nature battered the disciples’ boat, Jesus proved and demonstrated to His disciples the power and authority He has over all creation, by walking to them on the water!

Jesus is worth the risk. The storm is raging, and His disciples are all crammed in this small boat fearing for their lives. They at first think they see a ghost walking towards them until Jesus reassures that it is Him. Then out of the 12 disciples, only Peter cries out and says, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” Jesus replies, “Come.” At that point, Peter must decide if he will take a risk and trust His Savior or let fear and the “normal” thinking of the world – or even peer pressure from his friends in the boat – keep him from experiencing the “more” Jesus had for him. So many of us are faced with this same decision over and over again in life. Are willing to trust Jesus enough to risk it all?

I encourage you to read Matthew Chapter 14 and let the Lord speak to you regarding your current situations in life. Where do you need to trust Him to be on time? Can you see Him as your ultimate power and authority of your own life and of this world in which we live? What risk do you need to take?

Lord, open our eyes to You to see Your truths and what You are trying to teach and show us today. Give me the strength and the courage to get out of the boat and come to You. You are waiting for me with open hands, and You will not let me drown!

If you would like me to join you in prayer, please e-mail me at tonif77@gmail.com. I would love to pray for you!

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